In a Q&A with the Arizona Daily Sun, the the Chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission, Kris Mayes said that the state's renewable energy portfolio standard of fifteen percent by 2025 was insufficient and that they could do better. In a refreshing bit of bureaucratic candor, Mayes, the state's chief regulator, said:
"...that the cost of fossil-fuel-driven electricity is rising, and it's rising rapidly. Except for a recent drop in the price of natural gas, the price of natural gas and especially coal is going up over time. And we have to go in a different direction. And we have to start somewhere. I think it's important to make sure that utilities are building a balanced energy portfolio. And they weren't before a few years ago.
When Congress passes that cap and trade program (to regulate greenhouse gases), and they probably will in the next five years, these coal plants at Springerville that are owned by Tucson Electric Power and Salt River Project, and the coal plants in northeastern Arizona that are owned by Arizona Public Service are going to be much more expensive. And the power coming out of those plants is going to make renewable energy look cost-effective by comparison."
Arizona has some of the best solar energy resouces in the country. And with peak demands in the state coming in the summer—to fire up all of those air conditioners—when the sun is highest and strongest, increasing the state's renewable energy requirement seems like a fantastic idea if you ask me.
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